Do you see the sign on the right there? It says This trail is 6.0 miles roundtrip descending 1000 feet. Participants need to be in good physical condition and allow 6 hours for an enjoyable completion of your hike. Here are some of the things I would like to add to the bottom of the sign:
Bring at least one gallon of water per person if hiking this during the summer. Don’t start drinking it until you are on your way back UP.
Not at all kid friendly. In case that needs to be said after the part about the distance and the elevation notes. We thought that would be understood but since some people are morons we’ll make it clear: DO NOT BRING YOUR CHILDREN
Please do not take this sign as a challenge. If you are stubborn and ignoring the voice inside your head that says, “Maybe this is a bad idea.” DO NOT IGNORE THAT VOICE.
This is me, ignoring that voice telling me, “Maybe this is a bad idea?” The bad idea was not the hike itself, of course. The hike was beautiful. The bad idea was bringing the kids and thinking we could just carry them the whole way. You know, because we’re men of steel or something. Well…maybe I should explain how STEEP a trail is that descends 1000 feet in 3 miles. It is VERY STEEP. And when someone as clumsy as myself adds 30lbs on their back and tries to climb down that mountain? It’s not pretty. We ended up very quickly switching kids in the situation. NikkiZ, although heavier, is a lot less wiggly and therefore allows me to try to maintain some sort of balance.
Making it DOWN the mountain almost killed me. I probably make NikkiZ walk a mile of that journey. But even making her walk a mile, the other 2+ (because we just HAD to go 3.5 miles instead of 3) nearly killed me. My toes were aching and my feet were blistered and my back/shoulders were frozen in agony.
And then we had to GO BACK UP.
MrZ took this picture about 1 mile into our ascent. >> Notice that my lovely daughter was asleep. Because we had worn her out. Poor thing. Except NOT because her mother WAS DYING. I passed her off to MrZ and I took AndyZ just for the break in weight (and we weren’t going down anymore so I hoped he’d be easier to balance) and that didn’t last long because I was unable to carry ANYONE at that point. So, 1.5 miles from the top and I woke up that angelic girl and MADE HER WALK. UP A MOUNTAIN. IN THE HEAT OF THE SUMMER IN ALABAMA.
(Are my caps making my point? That I’m abusive?)
By the time we made it back to the car MrZ had carried at least one child all 7 miles. He was in pain. We had to conserve the last 15ounces of water to last us all over 2 miles because we were worried we’d run out. After getting into the car and almost crying with relief we stopped at the first gas station we came to for 60 ounces of Gatorade, 60 ounces of water, and one Diet Coke.
To reward NikkiZ for walking almost three miles today, I took her swimming this afternoon and then both kids pretty much crashed out before 7pm. This was, by far, the most exhausting trip I’ve every made. The hike would have been FINE if we hadn’t thought we could carry the kids. We could have carried the kids FINE without the steepness of the trails. And we might not have almost killed each other in that last mile if we had brought more water. *sigh* Lessons learned.
And now for the kicker. Which might should only be read by the females in the audience. If you’re male? Consider the end here and just skip to the pictures. If you’re female? Read along so you can truly appreciate my suffering.
When we packed the kids back on our backs to start the return trip UP the mountain? We had made it about 1/4 mile when suddenly: I started my period. FOUR DAYS EARLY. Because climbing UP a mountain with a kid on your back isn’t tough enough without hemorrhaging through uterine cramps. The kind of endometriosis-induced cramps that require I stay heavily medicated for four days. THOSE cramps. Those unforgiving cramps with the unforgiving bleeding. Because I was NOT crying enough already, evidently.
Now…onto more pictures of the day! Sans evidence of that last story I added for the women!